55-year San Jose fixture, Cambrian Bowl, to close

- It's been a fixture in San Jose for 55 years and this weekend, Cambrian Bowl will be closing its doors for good. The owner, Evelene Ballard, says rising costs left her with little choice.

If you ask Ballard, Cambrian Bowl in San Jose functions much like a family. There are familiar faces that have been coming each day for years.

"These children are now grown up and bringing in their children," she says.

And Ballard should know, she's run the place practically since the beginning. Cambrian Bowl opened 55 years ago. Other than the paint and monitors, not much has changed here since.

Ted Smith, a regular since 1977, says that's one of the things he likes best.

"People enjoy coming in here because it is the same. You walk in the door and you know exactly what to expect," says Smith.

But then, the unexpected did happen. The property was sold to a developer and the property taxes went up. Ballard's share was an extra $10,500 dollars per month, added to her rent.

"Once I was running in the red, my retirement is floating out the back door because I have to pay this extra rent. I can't stay any longer. I would love to but I can't stay any longer," Ballard says.

And so Cambrian Bowl will be closing for good. Ballard's loyal bowlers are now moving their leagues elsewhere.

Some are planning to drive all the way to Morgan Hill, because everything closer is crowded.

"Yeah they're booked solid. So it's just amazing to me to drive that distance but that's how important the bowling is to them," she says.

Bowler Craig DiLeo says, "This has been a cornerstone where we can all just meet and do bowling leagues and just have a bunch of fun together. But you know times change and I guess we have to adapt."

Ballard says the property is slated for redevelopment, so she wouldn't have been offered another lease.

And while she'll miss the place. She'll miss the people more, "People that are around you that many years, they know you like your family does. It's going to be very sad to give them up."

She adds, "I would like to thank them for the years of friendship and loyalty. They helped me pay the bills, but their friendship was so important to me."

There is no official farewell party, though some former employees plan to stop by Saturday. The doors close for good Sunday night.
 

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